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Merle Hay Mall Tower

Merle Hay Mall Tower

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  • Date Posted: May 6, 2014
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  • Address: Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, IA, USA

Des Moines, Iowa

Merle Hay Mall

Brief History of Des Moines:

A long time ago, large wooly mammoths and mastodons once lived in the area that is now known as Des Moines, Iowa. In 2001 at 12th and Locust in Des Moines, a large number of prehistoric bones were found at a depth of over 50 feet underground.

Sac and Fox Indian tribes lived in this area long before European settlers arrived to the Des Moines area. They lived on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River Valley at the head of the Des Moines River in a village called Quashquema.

In 1673, Marquette and Joliet became the first white men to set foot in Iowa. Over a hundred years later, in 1802, Iowa is added to the United States territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase. After 1812, pioneers began making their way west and settling and passing through Iowa. Between 1818 and 1832, the Black Hawk War rages in Des Moines and the surrounding areas. A fort is constructed near Des Moines to protect pioneers and travelers from Indian uprisings and other perils as they made their way through the area. By 1840, indian tribes were much more sparse than they had been and by 1842, central Iowa was open for European settlement. In 1846, Iowa became a state. In 1857 it was designated the state capital.

The St. Gabriel’s Monastery and the Merle Hay Mall:

In 1922 and 1923, the St. Gabriel’s Monastery of Passionist Monks was built on the northwest corner of Merle Hay Road and Douglas Avenue. In 1958, the monastery buildings were razed and in the 1970’s the mall bought the land that had been farmed by the monastery.

Paranormal, Ghosts, Hauntings at the Merle Hay Mall Tower:

Apparitions of nuns have been reported in the Merle Hay Mall Tower as well as strange sounds, disembodied footsteps, and cold spots. This has been attributed to the St. Gabriel’s Monastery of Passionist Monks that once utilized the area before the 1960’s. Visitors also claim that the elevator seems to be possessed by strange spirits that cause it to move between floors when no one is in the elevator or waiting for the elevator.


Neighborhood Link, Inc. (1997-2006). Polk County Historical Studies: Des Moines, Iowa. Retrieved January 30, 2011 from

Neighborhood Link, Inc. (1997-2006). Metro Des Moines Clubs and Organizations. Retrieved January 30, 2011 from

The Shadowlord (1998). The Shadowlands Haunted Places Index. Retrieved January 29, 2011 from

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